Context and Optimism

When I shared the news about considering amputation in light of my foot and ankle troubles from the last year, I failed to add some important context.

From the outside looking in, amputation sounds incredibly tragic. In the context of a healthy foot and ankle, it is. But for me, that ship sailed some time ago. For the last year and a half, my foot and ankle have only held me back. Prior to considering amputation, my prognosis wasn’t great. It wasn’t likely that I’d run again, and the chances of playing basketball or other impact sports were essentially zero.

However, thanks to science and modern prosthetics, amputation changes that. In a way, amputation would give me an opportunity to replace my current foot with a better foot. It will never be better than my original equipment of course, but it would be better than what I’m working with now.

It won’t be easy and, should we go down that path, there will be days where it will be incredibly tough. It will be challenging for both me and my family. But that’s what we’re already dealing with every day. I can’t walk a mile without debilitating pain, let alone run or jump. It would be great if we never had to consider this, but that’s just not the situation we’re in.

I won’t be choosing between a healthy foot and amputation. I’ll be choosing between lifelong limitations, pain, and cascading problems from a broken gait or having the opportunity to return to doing the things that I love. An opportunity to stay fit enough to keep pace with my kids and more helpful around the house.

Just going through this thought process has restored my hope that I will get back to a “normal” life again even if that normal is a bit different. I’d be lying if I said I’m not scared or that I haven’t had moments of depression, frustration, or anger. I have. Plenty of them. And I’m sure there will be plenty more.

But if there’s one thing a situation like this helps with, it’s perspective. Fixating on what’s already happened or feeling sorry for myself has been a huge waste of time. I still occasionally fall victim to it, but all that really matters at this point is gathering the information to make the best decision and prepare myself accordingly. In a way, once I got past the reality of this decision, it’s helped restore focus and give me a renewed optimism regardless of the outcome.

Encourage me. Support me. But please don’t feel sorry for me. If it does come to amputation, It’s not about losing a foot. It’s about gaining mobility and freedom from pain and limitations.